The gift of GRIT
The other night, on a Friday night, I sat on the couch and watched my husband and his friend spend 2 hours talking about life, family and the hustle. I eavesdropped here and there and chimed in where I could, but for the most part, I just let them be. Over an NBA summer league game and a plate full of salmon croquets, they compared notes on different ways to help their families achieve more financial success and enjoy life. At one point, when Lonzo Ball’s defense lacked to impress and the game died down in excitement, they even began doing research together on website design and real estate investments. The more info they learned and shared, you could tell that they started to get excited. But not just at the possibility of a more profitable future, but at the actual plans they were putting into motion. Mind you, this was at 10:30 PM, on a Friday night. Why is that impressive you ask? I think you already know the answer to this question.
What sets these two men apart from a lot of other men with a similar demographic and background? It’s not necessarily the fact that they chose to spend their Friday evening engaging in ‘life talk’ rather than hitting up the bar or the club; I’m sure that if I surveyed the majority of the men on my FB timeline, they weren’t out partying either. But rather than spend their limited idle time just vegging on the couch, for them the hustle has no rest period. This is how two African-American men, who are first generation college students, both of whom are Masters educated, can provide the life that they do for their families. These boys, or shall I say Men, got Grit!
So what is Grit? When I think of Grit, I think of the grind and fortitude that it takes to continue to pursue a goal even when the odds are stacked against you. Google defines Grit as “the courage and resolve; strength of character” and provides synonyms such as bravery, spirit and determination.* Grit it a soft skill, like a personality trait that can’t be taught, like creativity or adaptability. And to me, that makes it a gift.
It was Grit that allowed my husband and his friend to break through the barriers and the stigmas of the life that had been laid out for them, and press on for better. It’s grit that helps us every day to continue to plug on, staying the course, finding ways to conquer life, despite the fact that every bill collector has their hands out and the mantra “mo money mo problems” seems to ring true. We know that one day, even if it’s in the distant future, we will crawl out of this debt and will be able to enjoy the true fruits of our labor. I want to make it clear that we aren’t lucky people, life doesn’t work for us that way. We’ve had very little handed to us, so our expectations of ever catching a break are non-existent. We are just two like-minded people, in the midst of a pretty big storm, who grind hard, stay focused and thanks to the gift of grit, won’t be shaken.
Darren had no idea what this post was going to be about, he’ll probably be shocked. Early this morning I asked him, when you think of grit, what do you think of? He said, “the willingness and ability to stand tall during any trial and tribulation, and even though you know that the chips are stacked against you, you are willing to continue the fight. Almost like seeing that every obstacle that you face is just a minor speedbump in the road on your pursuit of your goals”. He said, “people with grit, are people who defy the odds”. Then I went on to ask him who he thinks of when he thinks of someone with grit. Right away, he said, Isaiah Thomas. For those of you who don’t know who Isaiah Thomas is, he’s a professional basketball player who was selected as the absolute last pick in the 2011 NBA draft and has gone on to become a two time NBA all-star. If that’s not impressive in itself, Isaiah Thomas is only 5ft 9inches tall in a league of men who average 6ft 7inches. Talk about defying the odds. Talk about grit.
Please don’t be mistaken, by no means is grit exclusive to sports and finances. Grit is how we were able to both go to grad school and maintain almost perfect GPAs with a 5yr old and a newborn. Grit is how a close family member of ours was able to change her life around and lose nearly 80lbs. It’s the gift of grit that has helped our 14 yr old not only excel in school while he’s a grade ahead, but also make his mark on a basketball program full of boys who are already driving and shaving, despite being a year and a half younger than most of his peers.
Think for a second about someone who you admire and who was able to accomplish a goal through hard work and perseverance. What it took for that person to achieve their goals, that’s called grit. Now think for a second, or longer, about a goal that you have set for yourself, yet haven’t accomplished because you haven’t buckled down and focused and really carried out the hustle that’s required to get it done. And when you identify that goal, don’t wallow, don’t beat yourself up and let it get you down. Instead, dig down deep for that inner grit and go for it.
Now back to my husband and his friend. There are plenty of people who grew up in similar situations, but for one reason or another have not been able to redefine the course of their futures. There are a few different type of people in this world, some who don’t do better because they don’t know better, and those who don’t do better because they don’t want to. Regardless, ‘wanting to’ and ‘knowing to’ is irrelevant if you lack the drive to actually make the change and get it done. When I consider my husband’s life; where he is today compared to where things started, I can’t help but feel that the difference maker, the gift that he was blessed with to help change his trajectory is grit.
We preach the message of ‘hard work’ to our children on a daily basis, but as most adults who have experienced any sort of hardship in life know, sometimes merely working hard isn’t enough. Olympians, millionaires and even people in long-lasting healthy marriages know that the hat of their success must be hung on something other than luck or merely working hard. Grit is like hard work to the 10th degree, it’s pushing beyond what you think you are capable of.
I don’t doubt for a second that we all want better for ourselves, that goes without saying. But seriously, think back to that goal you have, that you have yet to achieve. I’m thinking about mine right now. What is it that is stopping you from achieving that goal? In all transparency, anytime that I ever failed, it’s because I gave up. But after experiencing my husband’s passion for growth and increase, I now feel more empowered than ever before to dig deep for that grit and get it done. I challenge you to do the same.
Follow – up:
What are some goals that you have set that we can help encourage you to work towards?
If you have already accomplished your goal, please share with the subscribers what it took for you to get where you needed to be?
Thanks for sharing!